Tips and Tricks For Chairside X-Ray Developing

Woodridge, IL...July 17, 1994
Latest Update Saturday, January 17, 1998

Tips and tricks about fast developing with chairside developers.

  1. Mount a small light just above the darkroom.

    If the films appear to be fogging, the light is too bright.

  2. Use fresh developer whenever the developing time exceeds the recommended time by 10 percent.

  3. Keep a photographers stainless steel darkroom thermometer handy.

    Since films are developed by time and temperature, you need to know the temperature within one degree.

  4. Put fresh wash water in daily.

  5. Keep the lids on the jars.

    Air oxidizes the developer.

  6. Use clip type clothespins for holding film.

    They are much cheaper and can be thrown out or lost at little cost.

  7. Develop for EXACTLY the amount of time recommended.

    If you have to pull the film out sooner than that, you have probably overexposed.

    This will result in poor xrays and lowered contrast.

  8. Keep a clock with a second hand in a place that is visible while your hands are inside the box.

    Timers that require you to push a button, I have found, are more trouble than they are worth.

  9. Keep the xrays in motion while in the developer.

    Agitation increases the contact and speeds the developing process.

    The times listed on the instructions with the developers assume constant agitation.

  10. After the development time is up, a quick dunk in the water and then into the fixer.

    Theoretically you don't need the wash between the developer and fixer but it greatly extends the life of the fixer not to have pure developer carried into the fixer.

  11. As soon as the xray is immersed in the fixer, you can lift the lid on the box to look at the fixer.

  12. You can keep a jar of fixer outside the box and as soon as the xray has been if the fixer a second, you can transfer it to the other jar of fixer and go back to the operatory with the fixer fixing the xray in transit.

  13. It is extremely important not to OVER FIX the xray.

    As soon as the white protective backing on the film has been dissolved by the fixer, the xray is fixed.

    Any more fixing simply soaks the film base with fixer and increases the need to wash longer.

  14. As soon as the xray is fixed, rinse it in running water.

    Fixer running down your hand to your elbow is uncomfortable and smells.

  15. View the xray wet by sticking it to the glass on the SPI-GLASS by Special Products and read it by holding it up to a light source.

  16. After you haver read it, store it in a large jar or sink full of water.

    If you have not overfixed, this may wash it adequately by the time the appointment is over.

    Washing for five minutes in running water or a 20 minute soak in the sink is more than adequate to make the xray permanent.

  17. ADA Company makes plastic mounts that can be used for development as well as permanent storage of xrays.

E-mail your comments to

Back to Top